Record Details

Horna, Viviana;Zimmermann, R.;Cintra, R.;Vásquez, P.;Horna, J.
Feeding ecology of the black caiman (Melanosuchus niger) in Manu National Park
Journal Article
animals reptiles Black caimans Melanosuchus niger animal behavior threatened species single-species study ecology feeding diet seasonality Parque Nacional del Manu Cocha Cashu small spatial scales aquatic habitats oxbow lakes conservation recommendations Madre de Dios Bibliography
During 1992 and 1994, eighty eight individuals of the endangered species Black Caiman Melanosuchus niger were captured in an oxbow lake in Manu National Park located in the Peruvian rain forest. Stomach contents and body dimensions were collected and recorded from the captured animals. A total of 15 items among invertebrates and vertebrates were found in the stomachs. Snails (Pomatia spp.) and fish were the main items of the diet composition. The category snails was the most abundant in the stomachs of juvenile black caimans while the category fishes was the most common in the stomachs of adult animals. Vertebrates such as frogs, birds and mammals were found in few stomach content samples. The results of the statistical and descriptive analyses indicated that there was a significant effect of ontogeny on diet composition. Also significant seasonal differences were recorded in the composition of the diet suggesting that black caimans modify their feeding behavior according to changes in prey ocurrence. The study of habitat distribution in the study area allowed the determination of natural habitats like oxbow lakes, river margins and flooded floodplains that host a high diversity of organisms that represent prey items for the Black Caiman. The conservation of this species that has been heavily exploited in the past should consider the protection of its natural habitat in Amazonia.